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- The Role of Religion in History & Society
THE STRANGER REVEALS: grace is always present in others
The Stranger Is Scary yet Valuable
What is a stranger exactly? An experience, a fact, a person I stumble across: Finding sanctity in people who light the way without knowing
The stranger is needed to help you see and to help you survive. If not directly, there is an indirect unspoken urge to please them or appease them somehow. This stranger is the person who unknowingly and unintentionally interacts with you bringing valuable lessons for your spiritual journey. Will you recognize the value of a stranger?
First lets explore the obvious word "stranger" for a moment. Most think of a stranger as someone to fear, someone to avoid or to be aware of, most just think run the other way! It sounds funny yet that is exactly what I was told growing up and I guess the "stranger" stigma stuck to me. I moved to a larger city, and coming from a small town well, New York City was the largest city I could think of touch the most people with my gifts. Never the less as I began to build my business brand, marketing and promoting, performing and interacting with others. I asked myself why do we insist on knowing strangers? . Some talk bad or sneer when a stranger arrives, others like my grandmother would invite them inside, feed them and provide for them as she would a relative. When I recollect the feeling of being in the presence of a stranger I can think of my first day of school, my first performance, or my job interview. Can you think of times that you invited a total stranger into your daily routine of sorts? Remember those feeling of uneasiness or the total opposite where you felt very comfortable even though you never met them before? Everyday is about the stranger for some professionals and I cannot believe we view them as evil when we look them in the eyes. I believe when the stranger is immediately present the prejudice, and religious dogma disappears. The seperatism that divides countries and start wars, those rules that say, if you are not with me you are damned..it all changes.
Understanding the stranger's role in our lives. See the God in others? What's your religion?
So we agree as to what a stranger is but I want to go a bit further and ask how do we discern a good stranger and protect ourselves while attempting to treat the stranger as we treat ourselves? A stranger can become the person who literally saves your life or one who can bring harm. Moving to NYC and traveling around the country I had to and we all at one point realize that strangers are normal part of the scene and if you are afraid, fear will only cost you missed opportunities that come only once in a lifetime or you fall into a deep depression once mom and dad has passed on. Strangers..sounds scary, lets look deeper.
Of course living in NYC I have encountered many walks of life. And no matter where we live or go, the typical rude waitress, or doorman that goes the extra mile to help you, to the that taxi driver who couldn't really drive and you prayed all the way home; they all have meaning, they all matter because seeing others allows us to see ourselves.
Being a teacher allows me to view others as a way to evaluate and confirm my title, to know that I am doing a good job educating. In my own perspective, those I mentor began as strangers and my direct influence may have persuaded them in life and in contributing to humanity as a whole. I myself have also found valuable lessons from those I have met along the way. Parents, students, friends, business associates, fans and haters all have contributed to my development one way or the other. I enjoy the awareness of knowing that when I encounter a stranger I will be treated proper and with respect. As a student, I can remember both good teachers and not so good teachers, one I adored and the other who taught me about how I did not want to be. As they say love your haters, this is true. By seeing the results of successful youth who grow into productive and happy adults I have confirmation that strangers need me somehow. These spirits and souls all going about their daily lives protecting their assets, most on defensive mode, and ego mode. Most are non trusting on power trips with a prideful paranoia that some stranger is gonna take what is his or hers. In reality these very people are what Jesus insisted we must treat as ourselves. Hard work! Remember he taught the ultimate judgement comes from our acts and by how we treat the stranger. Which he is the stranger.
A child singing, a jewish guy, a homeless couple with a dog, will ALL be interpreted differently, and how we interpret them will be the question that awakens our understanding of the stranger.
Without knowing or being known by a stranger we cannot know God or ourselves.
In the Hebrew bible love they neighbor was commanded once, yet no less than 36 times "love thy stranger" is mentioned.A neighbor is not a stranger. A neighbor is someone we are familiar with and we trust sometimes to watch our homes when we are on vacation. So to love thy neighbor should be easy for most yet that has yet to be proven from some of us who betray our closest friends.
Leviticus 19: "When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him, The alien must be treated as one of your native born. Love them as yourself. "
Religion provides for us the stranger in clear uncut terms and there is always a clear distinction between us and them. It serves as a sure and easy way to say ok this is who God is. It is an ethical community and a system of meaning and understanding based on an established belief. Personalized and practiced with care religion works for many. It is when we take these beliefs and ostracize others for not agreeing or practicing the way we believe to be truth, that our very religions do more harm than good for the whole. Think about it this way, all our religions placed in a boat are sent out to sea to search for the truth of God. Do we throw people over broad when a storm hits, and the boat gets stirred up from large waves? Or do we realize that we all sink or float together no matter if any of us realize that God is that wave and if he wants he could sink us all at once! It is not our right to decide who lives and who dies God will have the last say no matter what we believe as truth.
Our transformation begins when we touch relgion and find life that includes others.
A muslim is expected to take a stranger into his home for no less than three days, treat them with honor and care for them even when these strangers are enemies. I believe when the stranger is present the text changes. Muslims cannot believe that infidels should be destroyed.
When Christians understand that in the presence of strangers the text changes, they will not imply that a stranger would be abandoned by God without Jesus alone. Yet how do you explain this to OTHER cultures or religions when this is not their truth? How do you make judgments that only God can do?
Everything changes when you see it as it really is. No more hiding behind your religion or status, or your selfish ego. Let's together as strangers, attempt to understand about how much these facts and beliefs change when we are face to face with a total stranger.
If more of humanity practiced this kind of thinking and actions we could clearly see that GOD reveals through the "OTHER". We are awakened and begin to feel what we could not feel before. We begin to see what we could not imagine before and ultimately we begin to think what we could never think otherwise. In the presence of others..EvERYTHINg changes.
Seek GOd among others and EXPECT others to seek God in You.
Thank you for tuning in with the poet! Please keep reading and spreading the SPEAK-LIFE MOVEMENT'S POWERFUL MESSAGE! Become a fan and join our soul family on facebook too! Peace and Blessings until our nest lesson. Always more to come.
~ Asahda Shavaja Poet of the New Age
DISCERNMENT & FEAR disturbs the natural purpose of the stranger.
How do we discern between a godsent stranger and one you should avoid altogether? How do we avoid becoming victims instead of gaining a blessing? The answer to that question lies within. When we encounter others there is naturally a sense of distrust and apprehension. We feel as if they have a motive and they are out to gain something from us. Some will say "I see the good in all people" and others will agree that people are manipulative and always seek personal gain at all cost.
Now a days the world has become a scary place of strangers and it is hard to see God in anyone. This disturbs the natural purpose for a stranger's role in our lives. Yet even with all the dishonesty and betrayal that others sometimes bring in our lives, somehow we always try again, we always attempt to see hope in humankind whether they are strangers or close friends. We forgive and we continue to love again because we must. There is no easy explanation as to who we choose to become apart of our lives. It is important to know we must take precautions when allowing strangers into our space and intertwine them in our daily functions. We must use discretion and thinking and acting with good intentions when venturing into new unfamiliar interactions with strangers. I am not saying that strangers are all good and for you to be vulnerable and naïve to their many outcomes. Yet we must not be so afraid of strangers that we shut out love and acceptance from those good souls who mean well and bring value into our lives either.
NOW DO THIS: Remember a person in your life now who began as a stranger and think of them now. I know that person brought you a valuable lesson or has changed your life in a good way. Share your story with us.